Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 82 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Hazel M. Prelow

Committee Members

Leslie Halpern, Sharon Danoff-Burg


African American, aggression, discrimination, European American, negative affect, racial socialization, Aggressiveness in children, African American children, Race discrimination, Socialization

Subject Categories



Drawing upon the ecological systems perspective of Bronfenbrenner (1986) and Spencer's Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST; 1995, 2003), as well as a reformulation of the frustration hypothesis by Berkowitz (1989), the present study sought to examine a model positing that perceived discrimination acts as a risk factor for reactive aggression; that positive racial socialization messages would buffer against the impact of perceived discrimination on reactive aggression; and that negative affect mediates the relation between the interaction of discrimination and racial socialization and reactive aggression in a sample of 70 African American and European American children (9-13 years of age). In the present study, though racial socialization did not function as a protective factor against the direct relation between discrimination and aggression, there was a direct effect, suggesting that higher levels of positive racial socialization messages are associated with lower levels of negative affect. In addition, regression analyses revealed that the data are consistent with a model in which negative affect mediates the relation between perceived discrimination and reactive aggression. The results suggest that as children are exposed to greater levels of discrimination, there is likely to be an increase in negative affect, as well as an increase in aggressive behaviors. Such findings may aid in developing programs that raise awareness regarding the links between these factors and seek to reduce levels of discrimination, negative affect, and aggression among children, and increase levels of positive racial socialization messages.

Included in

Psychology Commons